Category Archives: Curriki Tips

Higher Income = Higher SAT Scores?

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Currikijanetpic_preferred_cropped

Did you know that Curriki originated from the idea that technology could play a crucial role in breaking down the barriers of the Education Divide, i.e., the gap between those who have access to high-quality education and those who do not?

To this point, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal dubbed the SAT test the Student Affluence Test (aka Scholastic Aptitude Test) and showed some troubling statistics. “On average, students in 2014 in every income bracket outscored students in a lower bracket on every section of the test, according to calculations from the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (also known as FairTest), using data provided by the College Board, which administers the test.”

SAT test

Perhaps it’s not surprising that students from more affluent backgrounds scored higher on the SATs. Their parents make more money because they’re likely college-educated. Many live in neighborhoods with higher performing schools. And they have the option to hire in-home private tutors or attend after-school tutoring centers.

But not everyone has those opportunities.

Free Learning Resources Available to Anyone, Anywhere

Here at Curriki, we want to make learning possible for anyone, anywhere in the world. And here’s the best part – it’s completely free. There are more than 57,000 free, high-quality resources for you to download, use, or customize.

For example, you can download SAT Vocab cards or the SAT Math Curriculum Guide for free.

Can’t afford a tutor? Sal Khan’s videos are very popular and you can find tutorials on everything from Algebra 1  to Biology and Projectile Motion.  STEMbite offers some great videos too that cover math and the sciences. There’s also A Survivor’s Guide to College Writing.

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The goal of Curriki is to make a high-quality education universally available. Join Curriki today: http://www.curriki.org

Please help us spread the word by sharing this with your friends and colleagues!

Making STEM Learning Fun!

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By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Whether it’s teaching kindergartners to code, or keeping students’ engineering knowledge “fresh,” I’m amazed at the innovative and entertaining new resources available to enrich the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning experience.

Learning should be fun. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

LEARNerds

This is a great idea for students interested in STEM! LEARNerds offers “bite-sized engineering challenges” in the form of a daily question/problem. It’s a fun way to stay on top of engineering fundamentals – especially if you’re studying for Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE) & Professional Engineering Exam (PE). Can you solve this problem?

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ScratchJr.

Here’s a simple (and free) way for young children to learn coding! ScratchJr is an introductory programming language that enables young children (ages 5-7) to create their own interactive stories and games. Children snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. Children can modify characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, even insert photos of themselves — then use the programming blocks to make their characters come to life. ScratchJr was inspired by the popular Scratch programming language (http://scratch.mit.edu), used by millions of young people (ages 8 and up) around the world.

Curriki STEM Resources

Did you know that there are thousands of STEM resources on Curriki? There are simply too many to mention, but here are a few popular ones:

  • STEMbite videos  – A collection of short video clips created by science and math teacher Andrew Vanden Heuvel from Michigan, USA. Using Google Glass he makes these bite-sized videos highlighting the science in our everyday lives and covers: biology, physics, technology and math. stembite
  • Sal Khan videos  – these popular videos from Khan Academy cover mathematical concepts.
  • STEM sheets –  A collection of printable and customizable worksheets, flash cards and more from STEM Sheets.

Do me a favor, please, and share this post with someone who’d enjoy these STEM resources.

Speak Up Against Bullying!

Photo by Eddie~S via Flickr Creative Commonsjanetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer

Bullying used to be the tough kid beating up a smaller classmate. Today, cyber bullying is much more prevalent with students using electronic devices to send mean text messages, post rumors on social networking sites, and share embarrassing pictures and videos.

Video – Bullies and Bystanders: What Teens Say

Here are a few concerning facts from 2014 Cyberbullying Statistics:

  • 25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or on the internet.
  • Over half (52 percent) off young people report being cyber bullied.
  • Of the young people who reported cyber bullying incidents against them, one-third (33 percent) of them reported that their bullies issued online threats.
  • Over half (55 percent) of all teens who use social media have witnessed outright bullying via that medium.
  • More than 80 percent of teens regularly use cell phones, making them the most popular form of technology and therefore a common medium for cyber bullying.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and now is an ideal time to get your school and students involved.

Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center offers several ways to show your support:

  • Register your school or organization as a Champion Against Bullying
  • Add your name to the digital “The End of Bullying Begins With Me” petition
  • Sign up for the Bullying Prevention Newsletter
  • Talk in your community about bullying prevention and local activities.

Stop Bullying: Take a Stand

StopBullying.gov offers several training resources as part of their Bullying Prevention Training Center, including a Bullying Prevention Training Module Presentation, a Community Action Toolkit that includes materials to create a community event, and Training for Educators and School Bus Drivers.

Student Yash Narayan designed BullyWatch to empower students.

5th grade student Yash Narayan designed BullyWatch to empower students.

Encourage students to make a difference too! Recently, Harker School 5th grade student Yash Narayan received the “Best Educational App” award from iOSDevCamp (normally attended by adults), where he created an innovative app called BullyWatch. Using BullyWatch, when students feel bullied, they press a button that turns orange, expressing emotions to the bully of feeling bullied. Usually bullies will then back off, but if not, the student can press the watch for a few more seconds and it will turn red, sending a text message to school staff with the victimized student’s name and location, thus alerting teachers.

Visit Curriki to find a collection on bullying resources.

What are OERs?

OER2

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Here at Curriki, we talk a lot about OERs assuming everyone is familiar with the term. But in case you’re not, here’s a short explanation of what they are and why they’re so beneficial. janetpic_preferred_cropped

What are OERs?

OER stands for Open Educational Resources, which are high-quality, openly licensed, online educational materials that teachers, educators, or other professionals have created and have made freely available to others for use, reuse, adaptation, and sharing.

What does that mean to you? If you’re a teacher or a student, you can freely use or adapt these materials to suit your personal needs.

How are OERs used in education?

Digital technologies like OERs allow us to personalize the learning experience so that students can learn at their own pace and have instant access to the latest information.

OERs can improve education by allowing costs to be shifted away from expensive, proprietary resources to open, sharable ones. Plus, OERs can help break down the barriers of the “Education Divide” – the gap between those who have access to high-quality education and those who do not.

Curriki offers K-12 OERs

Reaching more than 10 million users worldwide, Curriki is the largest global learning community where you can find more than 56,000 free learning assets, ranging from lesson plans, videos, and worksheets to multimedia activities and courses.

All of the OERs have been created and contributed by educators, curriculum designers, curriculum partners, and school districts. They are “mashable,” which means that you can select resources (e.g., lesson plans, videos, animations, photos, etc.), tweak them, or combine them with other resources to generate your own custom teaching tools. And many OERs have already been mapped to standards.

Have you checked out the thousands of OERs in all subjects and grade levels available on Curriki?  Here’s an example of what you’ll find:

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You can get access to these free learning resources by joining Curriki (it’s easy and it’s free). Start downloading resources today.

Got Curriki? Summer Tips for Teachers

Portrait of a mature woman lying on a sandy beach

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

I enjoyed a recent blog on Top 12 Summer Tips for Top Teachers from Edutopia that includes lots of great tips on how we, as teachers, can become more productive and better at our jobs.

I thought I’d build on these tips with some additional ideas:

  • Rework the Worst to Be the Best. Take the time to revise last quadraticyear’s lesson plans to make them even better. Incorporate recent events, videos or hands-on learning experiences to enrich the classroom experience. You can find lots of ideas on Curriki. For example, use the Curriki Search function to find games like Quadratic Review or Free Online Math Games to make learning fun. Curriki also has video collections like this Technology Video collection from STEMbite that includes how to make your own bone conduction headphones, and how you can use a new pair of sunglasses to explore the polarization of light.
  • Tinker. What better way to spur creativity, especially in the dog alicedays of summer! Why not explore 3D printing or learn a new skill? We follow Teacher Christine Mytko, who’s using 3D printers in her classroom and blogs about it in Tales of a 3D Printer. Did you ever want to learn programming? Check out the free workshop Getting Started with Java Using Alice, where you can learn basic Java programming concepts with little or no programming experience. It’s fun and you can spend time creating animated stories, movies and games.
  • Laugh. I’m sure you can find plenty of things that will have you laughing out loud. But as teachers, we sometimes appreciate a special kind of humor. “Like” Teachers with a Sense of Humor  or Grammarly on Facebook to get more of these posts.

grammarly

LOL. If you know a teacher, please share this post with them!

Teachers: Equip Your Classroom for FREE

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By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

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Do corporations make their employees pay for their own office supplies? Nope. Yet the average teacher spends up to $1,000 of his/her own money every year on classroom supplies (not to mention personal time spent getting the classroom in shape before school starts!).

Teachers, here are a few ideas to help you out:

  • First of all, don’t be afraid to ask. Create a wish list and ask the parents of your students for supplies. But don’t forget to also ask local bookstores, or craft and office supply stores for discounts or freebies. Many companies can write donations off as a tax break. Tell them a little about your school and your students and how you plan to use the resource. You may get a donation or at least a discount. A nice gesture would be to send a thank you note to the business with a picture of the item in use. Or post to your social media page and thank the business publicly.
  • Register your classroom at Adopt a Classroom. Individuals can go to this site and search for a teacher they know, a school they have a connection with, or a subject they’re passionate about and fund it. 100% of their tax-deductible donation goes to the classroom. A similar site is DonorsChoose, where public school teachers can post classroom project requests online. When a project reaches its funding goal, they ship the materials to your school.
  • If you’re at a low-income school, you may qualify for free school supplies from Kids in Need Foundation, which maintains a national network of Resource Centers where teachers can get free supplies for their students who are in need.
  • Love shopping? Here is a list of 80 stores (from Office Depot and the Apple Store, to museums and clothing stores) from Gift Card Granny that offer discounts to teachers.  And you can find other teacher discounts on the Teacher Discounts Pinterest board.
  • NEA publishes a monthly list of 10 FREE Things, which includes “the best websites to find printables, your favorite books, instructional videos for you and your students, lesson plans, and other FREE stuff for your classroom.”
  • And finally, if you’re looking for free, high-quality teaching resources, make sure to check Curriki often as we’re continually adding new resources.

If you know of other free resources, would you please share?

Meet Kristen Blomstrom, Student Ambassador at Curriki

Curriki Student Ambassador Kristen Blomstrom

Curriki Student Ambassador Kristen Blomstrom

In this interview, Kristen Blomstrom shares ways that fellow students can use Curriki for homework help, to study for a test or just learn something new. She is a junior at Carroll Senior high school in Southlake, Texas.

What is Curriki?

Curriki is a free website with resources in all different subjects that are credible and useful for all ages. It’s a great website for parents, teachers and students.

Do you use Curriki in your studies?

I’ve used Curriki since I was a freshman. I use mostly the Sal Khan math resources (e.g., Algebra or Calculus) and some sciences (e.g., Physics or Biology) too. I learn best visually, so these videos are good for me and they help me gain a better understanding of the topic – especially when I’m not grasping the topic from the teacher’s explanation.

What do you do as a Curriki Student Ambassador?

I demonstrate Curriki at different schools so more people can benefit from the thousands of high-quality learning resources, all available for free! I recently talked to a 5th grade class of gifted students at a public elementary school nearby. They attend a very progressive school where all students have their own iPads and they’re using open educational resources (OERs). Since the class was working on a project on the American Revolution, I showed them how to type in a topic, filter a search, and find the resources they need – whether a document, PowerPoint presentation, video, map, or something else.

What do you like most about Curriki?

I like that it’s free, and has very reputable content. It’s not random stuff – which is what the internet offers. Plus, there’s the Curriki Review System, so I know I’m getting top-quality resources.

If I’m a student, how can Curriki help me?

Curriki is great for homework help, studying for a test or just learning something new. Curriki can help you expand education and really, truly grasp certain concepts. I always want to learn something new, and it’s a really great place to do that. I’m a big reader and into the Classics, and we read Shakespeare freshman year. I enjoyed it so much that I used Curriki to find additional resources so I could learn more about Shakespeare.

What are your favorite Curriki resources?

I use the Sal Khan videos a lot, they’re probably my favorite – especially the math videos.

What advice do you have for students who are just getting started using Curriki?

Start with the tutorial videos on Basics for Using Curriki. And connect with Curriki via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or the weekly blog to find out about new resources, activities and ideas.

About Kristen Blomstrom
Kristen Blomstrom is the President of the Student Ambassador Program at Curriki. Since 2012, Kristen has brought a student’s perspective to the Curriki team through reviewing content and sharing Curriki with social media such as Twitter and Facebook. In addition, she speaks to teachers and students around the country about integrating Curriki into the classroom. Kristen frequently collaborates with the Executive Team to bring resources of the highest to students across the globe. Kristen is currently a junior at Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, Texas. She has received numerous academic and service awards throughout her high school career. Kristen is also a top-ranked equestrian and competes in events across the country.
 

studenthow to Become a Curriki Student Ambassador

Curriki Student Ambassadors are creative and resourceful individuals who are passionate about learning and want to spread the word. At this time, new participants are being accepted into the program. Find out more here. You can earn volunteer hours, gain valuable marketing and leadership experience, and proudly show your commitment by being featured on our website and more.